Centrist Catholics, Protestants won Bush the election, survey says

Moderate Catholics and Protestants were more influential than religious conservatives in President George Bush’s re-election, says a University of Akron survey on religion and politics.

The university’s fourth post-election study conducted in November and December and released last week surveyed 2,730 adults.

The study demonstrated that while 88 percent of conservative evangelical Protestant voters and 72 percent of conservative Catholic voters chose Bush, so did 55 percent of moderate Catholics, 58 percent of moderate Protestants and 64 percent of moderate evangelical Protestants.

Bush also had a better showing among certain groups compared with the 2000 election. He gained 31 percent more votes from Latino Protestants, 17 percent from conservative Catholics, 11 percent from moderate Catholics and 12 percent from African-American Protestants. As a national group, Catholics, traditionally Democratic, gave a majority of their votes (53%) to Bush. The survey states this increase was likely due to the same-sex marriage issue.

The report also indicated that Kerry got 78 percent of the liberal mainline Protestant votes and 69 percent of the liberal Catholic vote. The report said these voters were motivated by the Iraq war. 

Despite the ongoing discussions about the role of religion in the 2004 elections, the study demonstrated that less than half of the respondents (47%) said faith was either the most important factor in their voting decision or about as important as other factors.

The survey was sponsored by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percent.

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